Trail Cats continue long legacy of success

After another long and exciting season, the Westminster girls and boys cross country
teams were able to triumphantly pull through with another two state championships. The race
was held in Carrollton, Georgia. Following Westminster’s strong first place finish for the boys’
varsity team during the regionals cross country meet and second place for the girls, both
Westminster teams were able to have two successful double digit victories over Lovett to secure
first place in the state meet. Both teams have now won back-to-back state championships
From the moment a cross country regular season season is over, the girls cross country
head coach, Amy Eubanks, and the boys head coach, Joe Tribble Tribble, have already begun to
formulate a plan in order to prepare training their teams for the next upcoming season and, most
importantly, the state meet.
“Our main goal and focus the whole season was performing well at region and state
because at the end of the day, those are the only two meets that really matter,” said Will Wallace, a senior and the number one runner on the Westminster’s cross country team as well as a top 5 finisher in the state meet with a time of 16:47. “Sure, we wanted to run some fast times at invitational meets in September, but it was always about the end of October and November.”
While Coach Eubanks had the girls running various workouts such as 5×1000’s, 6×800’s,
The Kosh trail 3 times, or a hard mile and 30-45 minutes flat, the boys workouts consisted of
8×200’s, 4×200’s, and a 2×3 tempo run. Despite the differences between the boys and girls
workouts, Eubanks and Tribble shared a common tie of wanting their teams to give their best
effort through teamwork and pushing each other to the next level.
“Every runner on the team counts and must always give their best effort; from this comes
a team work ethic where each runner from first to last pulls or pushes his teammate,” said
Tribble. “The result is a team striving for excellence at both the individual level and as a team– the goal being to always be the best team we can be with the prize of a State Championship set before us.” Assistant coach for the girls cross country team, coach Miranda Wilson, sees eye to eye with her fellow cross country coaches with the understanding to express the gravity of what it takes for a runner to make a commitment to their team.
“Running cross country here at Westminster isn't just about running; it's about being part of something bigger and stronger than all the individual runners,” said Wilson. “Being on a team brings great responsibility and sacrifice and our team allows the girls to explore those concepts in a supportive and loving atmosphere.”
Although both teams shift each year as runners come and go through the cross country
program, Eubanks and Tribble strive to preserve their coaching strategy each season. As both
coaches agree, consistency in their coaching is deemed to them to be an important factor on how
well the season goes for everyone on the team. “Our approach is generally consistent from year
to year; often times we make adjustments due to weather issues and/or our race schedule,” said
Eubanks. The same could be said for the boys team.
“The strategy never changes–it MUST always be the same–and that is my job; to remind
the team and to remind myself.” Both coaches agree that implementing their coaching strategy,
which involves focus of persistence and collaboration, is a critical need that they feel they must remind the team daily of.
“The coaching and preparation this year was phenomenal. In my time on the team, Coach
Tribble has always done a great job of training us so that we perform at our best at Region and
State, and this year was no different,” said Wallace.
Naima Turbes is the not only Westminster’s fastest runner on the girls team, but she’s
also the fastest runner in the AAA classification. Turbes is committed to Duke next year for
cross country and track, and this year, she led the Westminster girls team to another state title this year with a time of 19:01. She agreed with Tribble and Eubanks’ comment on teamwork.
“I am influenced by a team of people at Westminster. No athlete can succeed without a
team of coaches and supporters,” said Turbes. “Something that I will miss next year about the
sisterhoods within the team is cheering and being supportive to my teammates. It’s one of my
favorite things to do and cheering everyone on at the end of a race is where I have the most fun.”
Janie Cooper, an exceptional freshman runner who came in second place behind Turbes
in the state meet this year with a time of 20:33, was also majorly influenced by the closeness of the girls cross country sisterhood, especially since it was her first year being on the team.
“What makes our team so special is that in every race, all the girls on the our team after
finishing line up on the track and cheer on runners as they’re coming up to the finish line, and
that is something you just don’t see that often,” said Cooper.
As the season progressed, all runners from both teams continued to show tremendous
personal growth by improving on their workout and meet times. The team dynamic on both sides
was very positive this year, including the upperclassmen’s leadership and support towards their
fellow teammates.
“What makes a team is sticking together and pushing each other,” said William Foshee, a
senior and fellow cross country runner on the boys team. “We all need to play our roles on the
team, we are all important and we all play important roles and we need to support each other
whether you are the fastest or the slowest.”